Just because a 75 year old dude is a mastering engineer doesn't necessarily mean his hear extends beyond 10 Hz. And it especially doesn't mean he doesn't have a motive for saying he prefers one thing over another.
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I thought it was, all things considered, a pretty good article, at least by journalistic standards anyway. One thing I did like was the focus they gave to the mastering process in all this. This angle usually ends up getting overlooked in forums like this one. But, the one thing I didn't like as much was that nobody brought up the fact that preparing a master for digital makes for a necessarily differently sounding master than one that was prepared for vinyl. So, it may be not so much of a surprise when a master made for CD is released in vinyl and doesn't fare as well. A direct comparison between a master made for CD and a separate master made for vinyl, of the same title, would have been the more fair comparison...and the better on which to draw conclusions from. You can't do that in the real world, because separately built up masters for the same title greatly drives up the cost of the release - as in like $60-$80 for each vinyl and CD copy...just not doable. But, overall I thought the article was a pretty good effort, although I agree with you, Theo, your ears are always they final judge, no matter what, I think.
The author did a decent job of describing the shortcomings of vinyl, but left out the most important part; the playback equipment. The majority of the record players out there are either mechanically inadequate or have not been set up correctly. I've been listening to vinyl for better than 50 years now. In the early years, I knew nothing about setting up a turntable and neither did my friends. Even the audio store personnel were mostly clueless. The capabilities of the medium have never been experienced by the majority of its users. Today, as we see a resurgence in vinyl, I believe it will be no better than it was in the "dark ages"; maybe worse. People will blindly purchase a toy online, slap a record on it, and wonder what all the fuss is about.
Agree with the author--it really comes down to the whole experience one wants--if it's the nostalgia, the album art, collecting albums, the phono set-up, the flipping of the record, the work it took to get it all right, then records have all of that.
Minkwelder--we would probably all agree about the quality of playback equipment in this hobby--it's important. The same must be said of CD player quality as of phono quality. In both cases, you really do have to spend some money, but more so with CD--much more, it seems. However, let's get some opinions on how much it really takes in CD dollars to reach higher high-end, because technology has allowed better CD sound for less--or not? If the CD format really is better, then how much does one have to spend to exceed vinyl? Name some players if it helps to put it in perspective.
I agree, Jafreeman, that the quality of a CD player is also important, but I believe that the average consumer will be less likely to achieve a satisfying sound quality, dollar for dollar, with a turntable than they would with a plug-n-play CD player, simply because of the tweaking necessary to get vinyl right.
Those of us in the hobby who are knowledgeable about the tweaks and adjustments may very well be able to achieve a more satisfying quality of sound with a turntable. I know I have but, as the author noted, it's all very subjective.
I play CD's on a Cal Audio DX-1 through a Simaudio 100D DAC and, while I do think it sounds pretty darn good, I generally prefer the sound from my vinyl rig. I use a Technics SL-1200 with Jelco SA-750D tonearm and Denon DL-160, and spent more on it than my CD rig.
How much more would I need to spend before I preferred the CD's? I haven't a clue and I'm not so sure I would ever get there!